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auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: AllGold
Date: August 08, 2022 06:31PM
Original topic here: [forums.macresource.com]

I got the control arms (Mevotech premium) from Rock Auto. Had a little trouble finding a shop that would use customer-supplied parts, but ended up going to a local dealer. It turned out to be considerably cheaper than the independent shops--which wouldn't do it with my parts anyway. (BTW, the dealer would charge $300 per side or $600 total for the parts, but said they recognize their parts are expensive and I could use my own.)

The control arm replacement quieted the clacking every time I went over a bump somewhat but not completely. Hmmm.

Then I started noticing what I'm pretty sure was a new sound/problem. Whenever the torque changed on the front wheels (i.e. braking or accelerating) I would hear a clunk. It made me think either something was working loose or the ball joint bushings were bad.

I took it back to the dealer service shop, explained the sound and asked them look at it. They came back and told me the sound was from the control arm on the left side shifting in the cradle and that the part on that side was the wrong size. They told me there was no safety issue, however.

A couple days later I started to notice yet a new sound. The sound of a wheel bearing going bad (whirring/grinding sound that varies with the vehicle's speed). Coincidence? Maybe, I suppose, but unlikely. Then last night I started to smell a burning plastic smell. I have no idea what that might be about.

Sorry for the long post, but I really don't know much of anything about this stuff. Any guesses/diagnoses on what's going on?
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: mattkime
Date: August 08, 2022 06:44PM
What kind of car?



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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: AllGold
Date: August 08, 2022 06:44PM
2012 Chevy Equinox
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: August 08, 2022 07:06PM
Quote
AllGold
I took it back to the dealer service shop, explained the sound and asked them look at it. They came back and told me the sound was from the control arm on the left side shifting in the cradle and that the part on that side was the wrong size. They told me there was no safety issue, however.

Um, what? They installed a part that had a wrong size joint? Need more info.

My guess would be there is something else wrong that they have not yet diagnosed. Because of the great resignation, a lot of places are dealing with new/inexperienced staff. It might be tedious, but it could be worth going to multiple shops to get another diagnosis.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: August 08, 2022 07:09PM
More than likely, a strut mount (contains a small bearing inside that deteriorate). Not a big deal and probably not too expensive, although you won't get the economy of scale discount had you done it at the time of the other work.
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: AllGold
Date: August 08, 2022 07:20PM
Quote
Filliam H. Muffman
Um, what? They installed a part that had a wrong size joint? Need more info.

Yeah, that seemed iffy to me too. I would wonder if they reversed the two sides but I don't know if that's possible (the left and right arms are not symmetrical).
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: August 08, 2022 07:41PM
Ouch.

I will confess that I once took a car to my favorite independent shop with a basket in the back with parts I could not install. And invited them to laugh at me. We laughed together. They put it all back together and it worked fine. Part of knowing my limits.
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: Cary
Date: August 08, 2022 07:42PM
I'm confused.

Firstly, that a dealer would agree to install customer supplied, non OEM parts.

Secondly, that the dealer who agreed to install these non-OEM parts installed a "wrong sized" part, and said nothing about it, and that afterwards said it was not a safety issue.

Third, not sure what "ball joint bushings" are.

Does the clunking noise change when turning left or right? If so, that generally points to CV joints/axles.

How many miles on the Equinox? Wheel bearings do have a finite lifespan, especially in the Northeast, with crappy roads/potholes. Where are you located? If one side is bad, change both.

Plastic burning? No idea, but it sounds like whoever worked on the car was either sloppy, or negligent, or maybe it's coincidental and not related.

If I were you, I'd take it to a good mechanic, and ask him/her to check these various issues.

I know you're trying to save money. But, in saving the money, now you're stuck in the middle. The dealer/mechanic can blame the part, the parts supplier can blame the mechanic.

At my shop, we discourage customer supplied parts for exactly this reason. Who's responsible for the labor to replace the part you supplied? In my shop, it would be you. Is the money you saved enough to cover the cost of doing it again?

We always ask, "Do you bring your own eggs into a diner and ask them to cook them for you?"

You say you don't know much about this stuff. I recommend that either you learn about it, or, find an honest, good, reasonable mechanic, and trust/pay him/her to do the job correctly. You'll save money and hassle in the long run.

Sorry for the long winded answer...
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: Speedy
Date: August 08, 2022 08:16PM
You’ve got a bad wheel bearing.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: chopper
Date: August 09, 2022 08:15AM
I tried to save a friend's Equinox as she was short on $. Man what a massive POS.
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: August 09, 2022 09:19AM
Quote
Cary
I..
We always ask, "Do you bring your own eggs into a diner and ask them to cook them for you?"...
That's brilliant. I would take a vehicle to your shop.
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: Gareth
Date: August 09, 2022 09:40AM
Quote
Cary
"Do you bring your own eggs into a diner and ask them to cook them for you?"

It's never occurred to me to bring my own eggs, because I do not get an invoice from the restaurant that is broken down between ingredients and cooking labor.

But, some restaurants do allow you to bring your own wine and charge a corkage fee to open it.

Do you, as a mechanic, offer a lifetime warranty on all your parts, including expendables such as oil, coolant, brake fluid, brakes, wipers, etc? My parts store does. Granted, I will install most of my parts myself, but I also have a mechanic that will install parts I provide and I fully accept that if something is wrong with the part, it's on me to re-pay the labor to correct it.
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: mattkime
Date: August 09, 2022 10:22AM
Quote
Cary
find an honest, good, reasonable mechanic, and trust/pay him/her to do the job correctly

You say this like its easy winking smiley



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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: August 09, 2022 12:10PM
Quote
chopper
I tried to save a friend's Equinox as she was short on $. Man what a massive POS.

My neighbor, who has 2 of them, would agree.
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: AllGold
Date: August 09, 2022 03:19PM
Third, not sure what "ball joint bushings" are.

Don't most ball joints contain rubber bushings?

Does the clunking noise change when turning left or right? If so, that generally points to CV joints/axles.

No.

How many miles on the Equinox? Wheel bearings do have a finite lifespan, especially in the Northeast, with crappy roads/potholes. Where are you located? If one side is bad, change both.

About 150K, and yes, I'm in Michigan, the epicenter of crappy roads.

Plastic burning? No idea, but it sounds like whoever worked on the car was either sloppy, or negligent, or maybe it's coincidental and not related.

If I were you, I'd take it to a good mechanic, and ask him/her to check these various issues.
I know you're trying to save money. But, in saving the money, now you're stuck in the middle. The dealer/mechanic can blame the part, the parts supplier can blame the mechanic.


I paid about half of what it would have cost from a couple local shops with good reputations. The place I was going to normally (with a great reputation) misdiagnosed the first repair I ever took there. They eventually got it right, but not without a whole lot of drama and stress that I really didn't need. They also did some brake work that I thought was significantly overcharged.

With the ball joint/control arm replacement they needed me to leave the vehicle the whole day because they don't do alignments in house and had to send it out. So I thought I would try some other options. The dealer shop did the work in less than 3 hours while I wanted in their nice waiting room.

But I think the dealer shop is understaffed--and possibly or probably underqualified. The vehicle is coming back in no better shape, or possibly worse shape than when I started and I think I need to cut my losses and go somewhere competent where they can fix what the dealer screwed up. I just have to find that "competent" shop.

I recommend that either you learn about it, or, find an honest, good, reasonable mechanic, and trust/pay him/her to do the job correctly. You'll save money and hassle in the long run.

As already mentioned, easier said than done. It's made more difficult because I'm not married and have only one vehicle. All the shops want me to drop off the vehicle at the end of the day and give them all day the next day to get around to it, which is a significant hardship for me.
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: AllGold
Date: August 09, 2022 03:20PM
Quote
macphanatic
Quote
chopper
I tried to save a friend's Equinox as she was short on $. Man what a massive POS.

My neighbor, who has 2 of them, would agree.

LOL, then why 2 of them? grinning smiley
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: Cary
Date: August 09, 2022 07:47PM
Quote
Gareth
Quote
Cary
"Do you bring your own eggs into a diner and ask them to cook them for you?"

It's never occurred to me to bring my own eggs, because I do not get an invoice from the restaurant that is broken down between ingredients and cooking labor.

But, some restaurants do allow you to bring your own wine and charge a corkage fee to open it.

Do you, as a mechanic, offer a lifetime warranty on all your parts, including expendables such as oil, coolant, brake fluid, brakes, wipers, etc? My parts store does. Granted, I will install most of my parts myself, but I also have a mechanic that will install parts I provide and I fully accept that if something is wrong with the part, it's on me to re-pay the labor to correct it.

So, if my repair order bundled the parts and labor, you'd never consider supplying parts, but if it's broken down, then you would?

I offer whatever warranty the parts manufacturer offers, plus the labor element in the warranty.

I don't offer a lifetime warranty, but I do appreciate the concept. Generally, to my knowledge, the places that do offer a lifetime warranty are parts houses, and don't provide labor.

If you do your own labor, it's a great option.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2022 08:09PM by Cary.
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: Cary
Date: August 09, 2022 07:49PM
Quote
mattkime
Quote
Cary
find an honest, good, reasonable mechanic, and trust/pay him/her to do the job correctly

You say this like its easy winking smiley

I would posit that it's easier today than 10, 20, 30 years ago, before Yelp/Google reviews/forums...

It's not easy, but certainly worth the effort.
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: Cary
Date: August 09, 2022 07:59PM
Quote
AllGold
Third, not sure what "ball joint bushings" are.

Don't most ball joints contain rubber bushings?

No, ball joints do not contain bushings. They are a metal ball/socket with a rubber boot that holds grease inside.

Does the clunking noise change when turning left or right? If so, that generally points to CV joints/axles.

No.

How many miles on the Equinox? Wheel bearings do have a finite lifespan, especially in the Northeast, with crappy roads/potholes. Where are you located? If one side is bad, change both.

About 150K, and yes, I'm in Michigan, the epicenter of crappy roads.

Then you are almost definitely in need of wheel hubs/bearings.

Plastic burning? No idea, but it sounds like whoever worked on the car was either sloppy, or negligent, or maybe it's coincidental and not related.

If I were you, I'd take it to a good mechanic, and ask him/her to check these various issues.
I know you're trying to save money. But, in saving the money, now you're stuck in the middle. The dealer/mechanic can blame the part, the parts supplier can blame the mechanic.


I paid about half of what it would have cost from a couple local shops with good reputations. The place I was going to normally (with a great reputation) misdiagnosed the first repair I ever took there. They eventually got it right, but not without a whole lot of drama and stress that I really didn't need. They also did some brake work that I thought was significantly overcharged.

With the ball joint/control arm replacement they needed me to leave the vehicle the whole day because they don't do alignments in house and had to send it out. So I thought I would try some other options. The dealer shop did the work in less than 3 hours while I wanted in their nice waiting room.

But I think the dealer shop is understaffed--and possibly or probably underqualified. The vehicle is coming back in no better shape, or possibly worse shape than when I started and I think I need to cut my losses and go somewhere competent where they can fix what the dealer screwed up. I just have to find that "competent" shop.

Dealer mechanics are trained by the manufacturer. They should not be "underqualified". I'm still flabbergasted that the dealer agreed to install your aftermarket parts, especially incorrect parts.

I would suggest looking at Google/Yelp reviews, and maybe on a Chevy forum.

I recommend that either you learn about it, or, find an honest, good, reasonable mechanic, and trust/pay him/her to do the job correctly. You'll save money and hassle in the long run.

As already mentioned, easier said than done. It's made more difficult because I'm not married and have only one vehicle. All the shops want me to drop off the vehicle at the end of the day and give them all day the next day to get around to it, which is a significant hardship for me.

I understand it's a hassle, but good shops are busy. They are busy because they are good. Having a day for control arms/alignment is not unreasonable.

There's a saying? homily? (Not sure what to call it...) That goes: Good, fast, cheap - choose any 2. It seems like you got fast and cheap, but not good.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 08/09/2022 08:21PM by Cary.
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Re: auto repair experts: I need some more advice (suspension)
Posted by: Gareth
Date: August 10, 2022 12:34PM
Quote
Cary
So, if my repair order bundled the parts and labor, you'd never consider supplying parts, but if it's broken down, then you would?

Well, if had been that way from the dawn of time, then maybe. But now we're used to seeing it broken down, so if a mechanic tried to make a lump sum price, it probably wouldn't go over well.

Quote
Cary
Generally, to my knowledge, the places that do offer a lifetime warranty are parts houses, and don't provide labor.

If you do your own labor, it's a great option.

That's true. You can get a lifetime warranty on parts at some parts houses, but not labor. Of course, you still have to pay attention to where you're getting the parts and the quality. Just because it has a "lifetime" warranty, if you have to replace the parts every 6-12 months because they fail, that isn't worth it in the long run (ahem, some products at "big box" auto parts stores).

I think even Midas, which does (did?) offer a lifetime warranty on brakes would still make you pay the labor to put on a new set. I'm mildly curious to find out if they would honor it on my 15+ year old brakes from a seldomly driven van, but now that I understand brakes, I also know that buying the parts would be cheaper than paying them the labor.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/10/2022 12:37PM by Gareth.
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